‘Very serious’ allegations over Scarborough subway debate referred to Ontario’s auditor general

I wonder if the same thing could happen in Metro Vancouver as well?

The AG’s office did a review of the Evergreen Line and it was fraught with misinformation and professional misconduct, sadly I doubt they could do an honest review of any transit project in BC.

Maybe we should invite Ontario’s AG to do an audit on TransLink’s Broadway SkyTrain subway and Surrey’s LRT?

‘Very serious’ allegations over Scarborough subway debate referred to auditor general

Complaint from residents, transit advocacy group is at ‘its core” about alleged wrongdoing of public service, watchdog says

By JENNIFER PAGLIAROCity Hall reporter
Sat., Feb. 4, 2017

A city watchdog is recommending referral of a complaint of alleged wrongdoing by staff in the controversial Scarborough subway debate to the auditor general’s office, calling the allegations it contains “very serious.”

In a letter dated Jan. 24, Ombudsman Susan Opler told a group of residents their complaint was best submitted to the auditor general, who is responsible for investigating alleged wrongdoing by the public service.

The residents, backed by the transit advocacy group Scarborough Transit Action, filed the complaint Jan. 19 following a Star story over a misleading briefing note produced by the TTC in the midst of a controversial debate that saw council again approve a more than $3.2 billion one-stop subway extension over the alternative of light rail line fully paid for by the province.

Opler wrote that “at its core” the complaint appeared to be allegations against TTC CEO Andy Byford under the Toronto Public Service bylaw, according to the letter provided to the Star by the complainants.

While she said her office did not come to any conclusions about the “validity” of the allegations, Opler said it’s her opinion the allegations fall under the definition of “wrongdoing” in the bylaw, which is described as “serious actions that are contrary to the public interest,” including fraud and waste but also “breach of public trust.”

The bylaw makes the auditor general responsible to investigate such alleged wrongdoing.

“Those are very serious accusations that are being made there and if in fact those things, occurred would be a very serious matter and it would certainly be very much contrary to the public interest,” she said.

The Star has reported the briefing note — which was used by Tory’s office and allies to sway the vote — raised unanswered questions for which there were available answers.

Auditor General Beverly Romeo-Beehler said legislation gives her the power to evaluate “the quality of stewardship over public funds.”   (DAVID RIDER)

It also importantly presented a revised cost of the LRT, which put it in the same range as a subway. In a response to questions from Councillor Josh Matlow on the floor of council, Byford said he was “asked to provide” that comparison “for the same finish date as a subway” — that would seem to have inflated the numbers arbitrarily.

Byford, who has said he stands by what was written in the two-page briefing note, earlier told the Star he “cannot recall” who asked for that comparison.

The complainants wrote that with the commitment of billions to the subway project there has never been an “objective and complete comparison of costs, delivery dates and funding commitments from higher levels of government for the seven-stop LRT option.”

“At a time when there is increasingly limited funding allocated to basic services in Toronto, solid evidence-based decision-making must be used for all significant infrastructure spending.”

The public service bylaw came into force in December 2015.

Opler said she recognizes there is some confusion over the roles of the watchdog offices.

“I think many people think of the auditor general in the context of fraud and waste but the public service bylaw is very clear that council has also assigned to that office the responsibility for looking into wrongdoing,” she said, adding her office deals more with systems and processes of service to the public. “It’s not a question of giving anybody the runaround. We gave this complaint very serious consideration as to how it was appropriately and properly dealt with.”

She said referring the complaint in no way suggests the allegations are not worth investigating.

“In fact, it’s quite the contrary. Because these are very serious complaints that are being raised by members of the public, they need to be carefully and properly addressed.”

The group that made the complaint says they are still considering next steps after meeting with the ombudsman this week.

Auditor General Beverly Romeo-Beehler said in an email that she can’t speak to any specific complaint, but said legislation gives her the power to evaluate “the quality of stewardship over public funds.”

“This includes verifying that there is proper governance, management, care and control over the use of public funds.”

Comments

2 Responses to “‘Very serious’ allegations over Scarborough subway debate referred to Ontario’s auditor general”
  1. eric chris says:

    It was dumb of the directors and CEO of TransLink to take their fraudulent study for the subway in Vancouver to the federal government which they tried to dupe with smoke and mirrors to fund. Indictment of the directors and CEO of TransLink in Vancouver over the fraudulent study claiming that the s-train in the subway along Broadway in Vancouver can move 26,000 pphpd is only a matter of time. It might be able to move 15,000 pphpd, maybe, and the tram which wasn’t considered in the fraudulent study by TransLink can move 15,000 pphpd, too.

    Going with the subway is giving SNC Lavalin the contract for the subway and reeks of corruption (SNC Lavalin did the study for TransLink and selected the subway for SNC Lavalin to build). It stinks, and no competitive bidding was done to allow other firms to put in bids for trams or LRT.

    Subways were originally conceived in the late 19th century to mitigate road congestion and pollution from horse drawn trams used for public transit on the roads. Boston in the USA was the first city to build a subway in North America. Its impetus was both the blizzard which paralyzed Boston in 1888 and the cacophony of noise, dust, horse manure and smells from “public transit” (not cars) on the streets of Boston.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-CUsgxUUn0

    Building the subway freed up space on the roads for the automobile to flourish in Boston after 1908 when Henry Ford made the automobile affordable with the Model-T which revolutionized transportation from hub to hub transport with public transit to point to point transport with the private automobile. It was the subway that allowed the automobile to rule the streets in Boston.

    No transit employee is telling you when and where you can travel when you travel by automobile. When the Model-T arrived, it spelled the demise of the public transit as the dominant form of transportation. Now, if the purpose of public transit is to take cars off the road, only trams or LRT taking road space from the car is going to do it. Building subways won’t. With all the buses clogging up the roads on Broadway, LRT or trams are the way to go to reduce the road congestion from “transit buses”.

    http://www.history.com/topics/model-t

    Anyway, Sean Spicer’s press conference on SNL was a hoot last night. Here it is for a few laughs …

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w839_ngCeEE

    Zwei replies: The 15,000 pphpd is the maximum amount of people SkyTrain is legally allowed to take. The operating ticket from Transport Canada does not allow more.

  2. Haveacow says:

    Translink just doesn’t have any more passenger carrying capacity even if they wanted to, Transport Canada allowances or not. They physically have to make the trains longer and increase the frequency to really increase passenger carrying capacity as well as improve the electrical capacity of the central portions of the Expo line.

    As for being told when and where you can travel by automobile that is coming soon. Surface automobile transport is the last transportation mode that doesn’t require you to file a flight path, file an official plotted course or establish a travel block space like a train, for your vehicle in the transport monitoring system, in advance before you leave on your journey. This must change there too many cars and its becoming just too dangerous. Most of the people in charge of the transport system want that to change as well. For safety sake and the sake of the surface transport system, especially during peak periods the sheer numbers of cars has to be controlled. Driverless vehicles will make that possible.

    Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer impression was very funny and borderline scary, in its accuracy!

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